While Tegra Medical is building its own skilled manufacturing workforce with its toolmaker apprentice program it’s also changing the lives of its participants.
The four-year program, which requires participants to enroll in a local engineering program while it pays their tuition and a salary, is designed to augment the company’s roster of highly-skilled toolmakers. But it’s also providing unique opportunities for apprentices to jump-start their careers and make life-altering decisions.
The second apprentice to finish the program is Nick Voyer, a five-year Tegra Medical employee who is pursuing an associate’s degree in Manufacturing Technology at Quinsigamond Community College. As of June 2017, Voyer now has the title of Journeyman Toolmaker.
Joining the program spurred Voyer to make decisions that will affect his career in the short- and long-term. “If I did not join the program, I would not have had the motivation to go to college,” said Voyer. “Once I started going to school I realized how much I liked learning more in-depth information about manufacturing. I also wouldn’t have had the goal to move to engineering. The program has allowed me to see first-hand what engineers do and has motivated me to move up to that level. It has given me opportunities such as learning skills most people do not have a chance to learn, it set me up to become a successful engineer in the future, and most importantly it has given me the motivation and initiative to go to school and be successful.”
Voyer’s work contributes to the creation of a wide variety of devices, including bone scrapers, needles, and wires that become over-molded for catheters. He machines fixtures and tools to help create different shapes and geometries. On a given day you may find him bending a tool at a certain angle or radius, holding it in place for a different machine to do its work, or grinding precise angles on needle tips to send out for customer prototyping.
You might say it “takes a village” to launch a successful new journeyman toolmaker. Voyer is quick to credit the influence and guidance of his fellow employees. “I could not have been successful in this program if it weren’t for the knowledge of the journeymen around me,” he noted. “They are all some of the most brilliant men I have had the privilege of working with and they were very supportive in my learning. I owe a great part of my success to them. Their patience and ability to teach have taught me many things that will further the success in my career.”